Do You Need to Pay Taxes on Shopify: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Taxes on Shopify Sales
  3. Navigating International Taxes
  4. Leveraging Technology for Tax Compliance
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion


Did you know that the global e-commerce market is expected to reach 4.89 trillion dollars by the end of 2021? With such astronomical figures, it's no wonder that regulatory bodies worldwide are keen on ensuring that all due taxes are collected, including those from e-commerce platforms like Shopify. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur venturing into the world of online retail or an established seller on Shopify, understanding the intricacies of e-commerce taxes can be a daunting task. This post aims to break down the complexities of sales and income tax related to Shopify sales, providing a clearer path through the tax maze. By the end of this read, you’ll have a solid understanding of when, how, and what taxes you need to manage as a Shopify store owner.

Understanding Taxes on Shopify Sales

The Basics of E-commerce Taxes

The first step to untangling the web of taxes on Shopify is understanding the types of taxes you might be liable for. Principally, there are two major tax categories you should be familiar with: sales tax and income tax. The former is a consumption tax imposed by the government on the sale of goods and services, while the latter is levied on your income, including profits made from your online store.

Sales Tax: A Closer Look

Sales tax compliance is a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of online retailers. In the US, for instance, the obligation to collect and remit sales tax varies by state, with each state setting its own rules around economic nexus. Economic nexus is a tax collection obligation imposed on sellers based on their level of economic activity within a state, regardless of physical presence. It's crucial for Shopify store owners to understand the threshold of sales in each state that triggers this obligation.

Collecting and Remitting Sales Tax

Shopify offers built-in features to automate sales tax collection based on your customer's location. However, the platform does not remit sales tax on behalf of sellers. It means the responsibility to report and remit collected taxes to the relevant tax authorities lies with you, the store owner. Leveraging tools like Shopify’s sales tax reports can simplify tracking how much tax you've collected and from which customers.

Income Tax Obligations

Beyond sales tax, e-commerce sellers are also subject to income tax on the profits earned from their Shopify store. It’s essential to accurately report your earnings and claim eligible deductions to ensure compliance and optimize your tax liability. The complexity of income tax calculations and filings necessitates meticulous bookkeeping and possibly the consultation with a tax professional.

Navigating International Taxes

With Shopify, you can effortlessly reach customers across the globe. However, this global reach also introduces the complexity of international taxes, including VAT (Value-Added Tax) and GST (Goods and Services Tax). Different countries have varying thresholds for VAT and GST collection, requiring sellers to stay informed and compliant with international tax laws. Similar to domestic sales tax, Shopify assists in collecting these taxes but leaves the remittance process to the seller.

Leveraging Technology for Tax Compliance

The good news is, technological solutions exist to ease the burden of tax compliance for Shopify sellers. Tax automation apps and accounting software can integrate seamlessly with your Shopify store, simplifying sales and income tax calculations, collecting necessary taxes, and even preparing reports for filing. Noteworthy tools include tax-specific apps available on the Shopify App Store and comprehensive accounting solutions like A2X, which automates financial reporting and tax calculations.


Q: Do I need to charge sales tax on every sale?
A: Whether you need to charge sales tax depends on the nexus laws of your state or the country you’re selling to. It’s important to understand local laws and set up your Shopify store accordingly.

Q: Can Shopify calculate international taxes?
A: Shopify can automatically calculate and collect international taxes based on your customer's location and the tax settings you configure in your Shopify admin.

Q: What if I make sales through multiple channels?
A: Multichannel sellers must account for sales tax and income tax across all platforms. Integrating your sales channels with a centralized accounting solution can streamline this process.

Q: Where can I find more information about tax obligations for my Shopify store?
A: Shopify's Help Center and official blog offer resources and guides on handling taxes. Consulting with a tax professional familiar with e-commerce can also provide personalized advice.


Navigating the world of taxes as a Shopify seller may seem overwhelming, but understanding your obligations and leveraging the right tools can demystify the process. Staying informed about the tax laws in your jurisdictions, accurately collecting and remitting taxes, and seeking expert advice when needed are keys to remaining compliant and focused on growing your business. Remember, while taxes are an integral part of doing business, they don’t have to be a stumbling block on your path to e-commerce success.

As you forge ahead, let this guide serve as your roadmap through the complex landscape of e-commerce taxes, ensuring you meet your obligations with confidence and clarity.